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Hero sat with his knees almost to his chin. He was wearing his trademark light grey bodysuit. The joke was he even showered in it. His suit had been shaped back so as to expose his head. He could breathe easily enough through the eufiber fabric, but sometimes he just liked to feel the air upon his face. This was one of those times, here amongst friends. It was a night. The moon was a waning quarter and they were in the train yards near Long Beach.

“You’re doing okay for what you want,” Tauron said. The aberrated nova was in a black and red eufiber costume. It was part of his elite persona, the suit, his bull like features and his powerful horns coming out of his heads.

“You’ve got a rep here, your identity is still under wraps, and you’ve taken great strides with your power. Why are you so glum?”

“The job is getting harder,” Hero began, looking to his mentor. “Fact is, it’s a job now and that kind of sucks. I wanted to be a People’s Hero and not someone who is associated with the LAPD.”

Tauron gave out a snort.

“Yeah, you can really get jumped by who ends up being your employer.”

It was an elite’s point of view. Tauron admired his young friend’s convictions, but didn’t fully understand him. Tauron held to an elite’s point of view; novas existed to get famous and make money. The kid certainly wasn’t doing the latter, but was making some strides towards the former.

“I don’t want to be an employee, Tauron. I want to be the guy who does the right thing.”

“I understand that Kid, but right now they are going hand in hand. You’ve made a point of not taking their money and you’re still your own man,” Tauron reassured Hero.

CyberSpyder had been observing the two physical novas with a detached air. After all, he viewed his arrangement with the two novas as a business proposition. They provided him with muscle and security and he provided them with his own unique mental talents. CS was the reason that Hero’s past has all but disappeared. He had gotten the costumed hero a place off the radar to hang his hat, his first real home since coming to LA. Privately, he considered Hero his only friend. CS called and Hero would come. He got the equipment smuggled into the city that CS needed to create a new Nest. For that matter, Hero was the only man who knew where CS lived and laired. It was a degree of trust he didn’t like dwelling on.

“Hero, when the time comes, you and the LAPD are going to separate. The city needs them right now, more than it is oppressed by them. When they change, and the cops will change, you can go back to what you were.”

Hero looked at his friend and ally with a sense of gratitude. He liked being reassured.

Tauron agreed.

“You have the people on your side now. They know you and believe in you. That’s priceless. They are also pretty penniless,” he added with a jibe.

“But that’s how I like them, Tauron. Money corrupts values. It makes people do things they know in their hearts are wrong and I hate it.”

CyberSpyder and Tauron exchanged a knowing look. They both knew Hero’s outlook, but both were too much beings of creature comforts, Devotees of Mammon. For CyberSpyder money meant the best of equipment, information, and security. For Tauron, it was pleasures of the flesh, equipment for the field, and a retirement plan with his own private island in the Bahamas. They knew that Hero had this thing against money, but it was a personal thing. He wasn’t the type of guy to hold his friends to his own, higher standards. Their friend’s own morality was one of the things they liked about him.

They were silent for a few moments. CyberSpyder adjusted his glasses. His Asian features were dampened in the moonlight. Unlike the other two novas, he only had on a t-shirt and jeans. He took pride that he wasn’t a costumed freak, as well an invisible person. Technically he was invisible as far as the world was concerned. He couldn’t turn himself invisible – yet, but he was ambitious. What he didn’t want was to be railroaded into working for some government agency, or Spirits-forbid, Project Utopia. Tauron had saved him from kidnappers. Hero had ended up saving both of them and greased two unknown novas to boot. Well, Hero had taken one out with his eruption burst, and Tauron had finished off the other one while the dumb bastard was still dazed. What mattered to CyberSpyder was that he was still free and for now, hidden.

“They are at least giving me more time off now,” Hero said breaking the silence.

“There are an upsurge in investments as well as increased efficiency in FEMA operations,” CS added, clarifying the picture. “They might even be bringing in professional elites to help out with some of the projects – mainly architectural and engineering types. I surmise that the power grid will be up to 80% by June and the Opnet will be over 60% by April. God, I love connectivity.”

Tauron nodded. “I’ve heard the same rumors about the elite involvement and all. Not only Devries, but Novelty and some independents have either expressed an interest, or have been sought out for projects here.”

“Damn, that’s good news,” Hero said with a smile. It was good to hear the good news. “I look forward to not having to move rubble day in and day out. I can get back to doing more for the people that needed it.”

“Anarchist,” CyberSpyder joked.

“Hey now, he’s our Anarchist,” Tauron countered.

“Hey now, there is nothing wrong with looking out for the guy, or gal, that doesn’t have so much first. Those with the bucks already have a staple of novas willing to help them out.” Hero playfully punched Tauron in the shoulder.

Tauron punched him back, mindful of his greater strength.

“Speaking of what we can do with our powers: Hero, ready to work out?”

“Okay,” Hero said with some hesitation. “To be honest, I’ve been getting stronger over the past few months – more in control anyway. On the downside, it’s more tiring now that it was when I was just haphazardly throwing power around. Focus sucks.”

“Well, Young One, there are tricks to the trade. Let’s see what we can figure out.”

Tauron looked to CyberSpyder.

“How about you record our session to give me something to review?”

CS nodded. “Can do. I’ll burn myself a copy – to see if I can learn a thing or two as well.”

“Don’t I get a say in this,” Hero said lightly. He trusted his friends. Still, he willed his coif and mask back into existence.

Tauron took some steps away. “Let’s get at it,” he taunted Hero, and so it began.

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